Lilygreen Photography: Blog en-us (C) Lilygreen Photography (Lilygreen Photography) Mon, 16 Mar 2020 07:12:00 GMT Mon, 16 Mar 2020 07:12:00 GMT Lilygreen Photography: Blog 120 96 Burma Trip - 16th Feb - 2nd Mar 2018 Photo76Burma  

Link to all the photos

This photo is one my Dad took in WWII. He went to loads of places in the far east and Burma was one of them. I grew up looking at these pics and both Mum and I were enthralled, hearing about huge golden Buddhas and diamond studded pagodas. Eventually Mum and Dad went back, sadly just after Mum saw it she was taken ill and a few days later she died.

Anyway, one evening as we watched Joanna Lumley in India it got me thinking, I want to travel a bit more while I can. So I looked at trips to India and photography trips then low and behold I saw one Digital Photography Holidays that took in the Shwedagon Pagoda in Burma (Now Yangon) well it had to be done. My hubby doesn't want to come so I'm off. Roll on February 2018. 

I have scanned in Dad's photos and also my friend Ros's photos. Come to think about it Mum and Dad must have taken some pics, I know I have a postcard from them somewhere. It was in 1999 so pre digital!

I'm really looking forward to the trip but I have so many questions. It would be nice to have a Facebook Group where I could chat to others about the trip. 

So, it's the 14th February and we travel up to London on the 16th. Quite frankly I'm bricking it. Do I have the correct terminal, will everything fit into the meagre 7kg hand luggage allowance, will I forget anything important, WTAF do I do for a 12 hour flight? Where do I go when at Bangkok for the connecting flight? Will I get there OK? Will the mozzies eat me? Will I get a bad belly? Is that water filtration system from Mountain Warehouse really going to cut the mustard? Do I have enough clothes, too many clothes, the right sort? When I land at Bangkok is Rangoon an international flight or an internal  one. It may only be an hour but it turns out it's international. Still, as with most worrisome things I daresay it will be OK.  The mind is a powerful thing, the less I think of it the better right now. We have booked a hotel, The Park Inn by Radisson for the Friday night, £65 including breakfast. That way I can check in at 0900hrs (or just before) on Saturday. Probably hungover, indigestion but on time! 


Photos 17-19th Feb. Journey & Yangon

The Journey Out

So, finally took off about 12:25. Posh as fuck on this plane, a beautiful Thai girl doing the hand bow thing as you get on board. I have a window seat and all three seats to myself. Looking out now I can see some sort of coast, not sure where obviously apart from its the UK.


After you dropped me I shook and snivelled my way to zone A. There was a Thai airways info desk so I asked them what to do. They pointed me to the self service check in. A very nice young man asked if I was OK. I said no and he helped me, well he did it for me actually. Phew, still shaking. Then you had to go to bag drop off, short queue. Another nice young man helped me, I asked him what was next and he said to turn right and go to security. I was walking along, still trying not to cry!  Security was swift and painless. Needless to say I set the alarm off. That was it. I was into departure lounge, sent you an update, tried not to worry about you driving home.


I drew out £100 cash, bought a memory foam pillow thing, two for £18 or one for £13. I told them that was a rip off.  They had a Harrods  shop just selling watches, wow, the prices! I was looking at Kurt Geiger shoes, a lovely young girl complimented me on my hair, had I done it myself? Er  no! She said it's lovely, it goes with your rouged  cheeks! Wrong, that's heat, stress, menopause and hereditary red cheeks, damn them, at least she didn’t say I had Rosacea!! I had a wander, got a shed load of samples of Khiels cream and stuff off a nice lady. Bought more water. Started to go to the boarding gate then, 15 minutes walk! By the time I got to B44 I had forgotten the number, I turned right instead of left and it took me till B49 to realise, doh. Anyway, I had plenty of time. Boarding was swift and painless too. There were two tunnels to get onto the plane, I was so surprised when I entered the craft, all pink and purple. I'm second row in, three seats to myself. They give you a little pillow and a cwtchy blanky. We were waiting for ages to take off but it gave me a chance to calm down. No one queried the weight of my backpack. Soon as we were at altitude they came around with a drinks trolley, a packet of Pretzels and I had a wine. I went to pay her and she said "it's complimentary!" Well, happy days, I had a red wine. Each seat has a screen set in it, a USB hole, wonder can I charge my phone in there? Something is draining the battery so fast. I shall temporarily delete all unused apps and see if that helps.

I still don't know why I was so nervous in the lead up to this point. I was really surprised this morning when I woke up and I was shaking, I don't think it was wine based either. Still breakfast was nice, it did come as a shock that only one was included in the room price though. Hopefully the sausage sarnie kept you going.  It was horrible saying goodbye, the feelings of leaving you were overwhelming, as you guessed. I guess when you love someone, I mean really love them, then it's bound to happen. So therefore it can only be a good thing right? Anyway, this is up to date for now. My wine has gone, the entertainment system has technical problems and isn't working so I guess I will read my book you got me for Xmas.  Oh, more food is arriving! Laters x


Well, more wine! A meal, choice of spicy chicken, rice or beef. I had the chicken. Hot fresh bread roll, butter, cous cous maybe? Tasty whatever it was. Rice, tasty chicken. Mini water, cheese,crackers. I'm stuffed. I saved the water, cheese and crackers for later. 

I'm just looking at the movies choice, pages 1-7.  Not sure how to get off page 1. I've jabbed most of the buttons. Oh I have my phone charging from the USB too!


So, it's now 1816 hrs UK time.Time at destination Bangkok 0116hrs. Theoretically I should be asleep, except I'm not tired, I did take advantage of my three seats earlier and dozed for a bit, then it was bumpy so I had to sit up. We have had juice and a sarnie brought around. I stashed the sarnie though as I'm still full from the meal. I feel a bit like I want a sit down jobby but don't really want to on the plane.  I've deleted loads of apps on my mobile, tidied it up, charged it up from the seat! How cool is that? Can't get on the internet though. Not sure what I want to do, guess I'll have to read my book or watch a film. There are 4.30 hours till Bangkok. 



So, what do you do at 0330hrs local time when you can't sleep. Write is as good as anything. 

So on the second flight I sat next to a journalist from Thailand, Kavi. He was Oxford educated, trained. He advised re money, food and water, very nice chap.  On landing I had to queue for ages for immigration, very surreal and formal. Collected my case ok. The pull up hand is knackered though. I changed 200 dollars into a pile of notes. 

There was a taxi outside for me, complete with air con and bottle of water. It took about 50 mins to get to the hotel. The traffic was horrendous. 3 lanes in either direction, long waits at lights, glad I wasn't navigating for you to drive!

I had my first glimpse of the Shweydagon Pagoda glittering in the distance and as we got near the hotel we drove past the entrance. A surreal experience, all these years of waiting. 

Hotel is posh. As I checked in, having gone through another scanning machine they come up with a drink. Stephen appeared and we had a quick chat. About water, money tipping etc I think. My body said it was 0330 hrs and past its bed time. 

The room is large and airy, huge bed, telly, table chairs, air con set to  freezing.  I couldn't see the way to turn it off. 

Amazing loo, three different bum washers! 

I did sleep for a few hours, showered and went down to meet the others. There are six of us in total, five ladies one man. I can't remember all their names yet. 

Had a G and T while Stephen went through everything. It was a lot to take in. Kit, types of photographs,  tips, plus answering questions from the others. We are pretty diverse in where we live, what we do, experience, age, outlook. I think it will be interesting. 

We ate in, I couldn't think what to have so copied Steve and had Thai red curry. It was nice.

I don't know how much mine was, I told them I'm rubbish with numbers and as bedtime Stephen said that he would sort it out and let us all know tomorrow. Much easier, that sort of thing is usually a boy job.

I sat for a while to finish another G&T and just chill out. 

We are meeting at 8.15 tomorrow, I read that as 8am as it's easier for me to work out the numbers. I reckon get up before 7am. 

I fell asleep quickly awoke after some weird dream that there was a bloke in the bathroom, he was in the bath and wouldn't go. He was wearing a cat nose and whiskers mask! He said it was because the hotel was full. I wasn't scared but was annoyed. I also remember dreaming I was back downstairs and I'd put my toothbrush in my bag instead of the camera, every time I tried to go to the room I was back in the same place, I even said to someone else in the dream, oh, it's one of those weird dreams. So, when I did wake up I had a drink, looked at my unaltered watch, thought I had at least  another hour in bed. Went back to sleep, woke up hours later ready to get up, why is it still dark? Probably cause it's only 2am. I found that a total head fuck. 

So here I am, 4.17am, wide awake. Ready for brekky. What to do? Oh the air con switch was right by the bathroom, it's off now. 

OK, I'd better send this now as it is now Tues 20th, I think!

Love you loads xx


So, our first proper day, I had breakfast, bacon, eggs, yoghurt, nuts. We met at 0815hrs and started to walk down to the old colonial part of town, it may have been early but it was already hot, bearable though. The roads are incredibly busy, all the time. As we crossed over the big road, luckily assisted by crossing lights, we came across a group of nuns. Nuns but not as you know them, these were all girls from about 5 to10. Thereabouts any way. All shaven heads, very smiley and shy. We all took lots of shots. From there we walked down one of the side streets, so many things to photo, down another street and into a small park, I photographed some pretty young girls and in return had to be photographed with them, I bet I look like a giant by the side of them!


It was getting seriously hot now 1030ish so some of us took a cab back and two of the girls walked back. I wanted to charge my batteries ready for the evening visit to the Shwaydagon pagoda. I had a snack of what was left from my plane stash of food, a nice cup of mint tea (so glad I brought my own tea bags) and then slept. Trouble is we had to be downstairs at 2pm and guess who was late again. They came to clean the room so I couldn’t have a pee, I had to go back for a card I’d left, I had a pee down stairs. I got told everyone was waiting for me. Tough shit - yes but I had just woken up, jet lagged and grumpy, plus it was only like 3 minutes at most.


We headed off in a mini bus and went to see the 40ft long reclining Buddha. It was ok. Big. Commercial.


Then onto some other Buddha. 


Then onto Shwaydagon. We went via the East gate, I think Mum and Dad would have gone by the West Gate maybe. This one was small, inconspicuous. We went up in a lift - barefoot was grim, it may have been on Marble but it was hard! We walked between two buddary bits and there it was, like Petra opening up only this was gold, shining glittering gold. Stephen walked with us to the Tuesday buddah(?) then we were on our own to walk around. Bliss. The first thing I did was find a spot nearby where I could just sit, out of the sun and take it all in. It wasn’t so much about the photos but the being there, after hearing about it all my life and having seen dads photos, also knowing that Mum had been so ill  when she went there, made it so special. It was like I was saying goodbye to them. This is something that I have to write down as I would choke up if I said it out loud. 


I took shedloads of photos, and then a few more just in case. I did a lap but couldn’t recognise the place that dad took his pics from. Once we all met up again the sun was going down so we congregated along with lots of others, put up the tripods and waited for the sun to go and the sky to change colour. More pics. Then I thought, shit, I should have a record of me being here, so as I was wirelessly remote I did a selfie or three. Not good but enough. Then I took some more with the mobile. Plus a bit of video. They were waiting for me again. Tough shit.

Going back down my feet were on fire, the others were dumping their stuff in their rooms and going around the corner to eat. I didn’t want to walk anymore, or faff about in Taxi so I stayed at the hotel. Had a lovely long hot shower and washed my hair then went to the dining room for food and a beer. The beer was lush, it was a buffet meal and I had to sit at some high bar thing, but the food was nice, I had three different types of fish, salmon, cod, and ? Various salads and bits. Not a huge meal. Unlike the bill. $45! 

Yangon to Bagan Photos

I went up then, packed, crawled into bed and slept till 2am. I was awake for a bit but went back off till 0445hrs. I was first down this time. We left bang on 0530hrs and went to Yangon airport. I had a protein bar and a cup of coffee. We went through security and I had to hand over my stash of three bottles of water. I was talking to the others and forgot to pick up my camera bag. Luckily it was still there 5 or so minutes after!


The flight was ok, I sat by Karin and we had a nice chat. I didn’t bother with the food they served, the flight was only an hour but they brought around drinks, food. Easyjet have a lot to learn!

On landing we all crowded onto the bus to drive oh, 100meters! The airport is a big shed type place. 



Funny little town, full of character. Horses, carts, bullocks, various other bikes etc. It does have a camera shop though. We stopped for Nicole to buy a different tripos as she had been sold the wrong one in Singapore.

The hotel has grown over the years and our wing is two years old. Positively palatial.  We had to wait to check in as we arrived early so we went down to a lacquer workshop. Had a talk on how it’s made, really interesting. Each piece takes months because of the process, very labour intensive. I bought a small owl $20. 


Had lunch at 12 , Pennyroyal Salad, then a couple of hours to doze. I was nodding off when “housekeeping” knocked on the door to give me a flimsy newspaper. Not amused. 


Met everyone at 3pm and we went in horse carts to various Stupa things to take pics. Nice . There was one you could walk up inside but you had to take your shoes off and go upsteps. No thanks. 

The next place was nice, similar thingys. There were some nice paintings there of birds, I may get one. 

The 3rd place was where we were going for a sunset shot. We walked to this deserted building and were expected to not only take off our shoes again but do yet more steps. I asked Steven if it was compulsory, he said no so I went back to the hotel. Gave the driver, as primed, 2000 kyat (£2).


Ok. Although I had those money things written down I still got them wrong. When I kicked off last night! 10000 is about a fiver apparently.


I had a nice shower, did some washing, cup of mint tea, put my aching feet up. Bliss. I didn’t regret my decision for a minute. We met at 7pm. We have to select 15-20 images to form a cohesive panel about our trip. Pain, don’t want to. I will have to though, so maybe the ladies of Myanmar? Or hands or shapes, or textures or something. We went to another local restaurant for dinner. 

I had hot, sour chicken and one beer. When the bill came it was 56000 kyat. Someone said to round it up to 60000 and split it 6 ways, Nicola had worked hers out, paid and gone. They had wine, Tom had two big beers. So my small dish and small beer was going to cost me the same 10,000. Expensive for what it was. So I said what I thought. Stephen gave me 5000 back which was too much. However, I fail to see why I should subsidise everyone else’s food and drink. (Reading this back I realise I was being a dull egg over £2.50 is but when you have dyscalculia it may just as well have been lots)


It’s another 6am start tomorrow, sunrise shots somewhere. Hope I can sleep through. 


21st Feb Bagan - Sunrise, Monks - Photos

Today & Yesterday - Bagan

Barefoot, steep steps in the dark? No fucking way. I ain't that dedicated. We are in the middle of nowhere, I really didn’t fancy steep stairs, barefoot, in the dark, plus I didn’t think to bring a torch as I didn’t know where we were going, lucky I have one on the phone.

I slept better, apart from two messages clicking through. 

22nd Sunrise, Balloons. Photos

Yesterday was OK. Sparrow fart again, shoes off but at least it was paved. The monks were good, loads of photos to be had. Back for brekky by 0900hrs. Downloaded my photos. Figured out how to tidy up and rename the folders on the hard drive at last. It's a bit laborious. 

In the afternoon we went to, a temple. They went up again but I didn't. Rickety steps, barefoot, nah. I bought a picture thingy 5000. Outside I bought a lacquer box 10,000. Then onto another bigger temple, quite commercial with loads of people selling stuff. It was OK. I took some nice shots of a japanese girl. 

On then to a tump – old pottery factory(?) where we waited for the sun to go down. Tripods at the ready. Had fresh coconut off a family selling stuff 2000. It was lush. Photoed the sun going down. Bought a longiye(?) 

Straight to Bagan Town. Pics of a parasol shop and a lady weaving. Bought a scarf 10000. All these purchases left me short for dinner, had to borrow 15000. Talking to Vicky about numbers and I could be dyspraxic? Whatever. 

My arse has gone to sleep on this stone. Still pitch dark. The others are all set up on top. Loads of other togs coming in now. Not regretting staying here, just getting up so early! 

I got lots of sunrise shots, then around the other side were loads of balloons, lucky I saw them cos no one thought to tell me which direction they were going to up from, or the sun come to that. Guess I should have asked but it’s like if you separate yourself then you get a bit sidelined. I don’t do it deliberately but rather than say bunch up with tripods I will move away. 

I’ve realised I have a defensive side to me, why? 

Train and Road to Mandalay Photos

Guess you are out now? It's 2124hrs here and lights out shortly. I'm on duty at 0600hrs! We leave for a train ride at 0630. I'm packed all bar the essentials. More steps I refused today! Not sorry, apparently they were the steepest yet! And in the dark and without shoes. I did my own thing outside. I got shots I'm happy with and while it was better higher up it wasn't too shabby at my level either!

This afternoon we did temples. I played football with a small boy! Went onto a river, not impressed. We were back reasonably early. Had a gin fizz by the pool. Happy hour so 2 for 1. 3 dollars? I bought a long hangy thing with painted birds on. 13000 kyat, it's lush. Had food next door 10000kyat. That's cheap.

I do get my knickers in a knot when they talk money though, I hate having to ask for help.

Bagan to Mandalay

Mixed bag today. Early start. The train journey was lovely, I had some nice photos. Then we transferred to a mini bus. Stopped a few times to take pics. We set off at 0630 and got in at 1330.  The rooms are ok. Clean. Hotel is sort of utilitarian. I didn’t go out for the afternoon shoot. I slept instead. 


Went down about 7pm and had a salad and some gins. I asked for help with money, I felt a fool for asking and still managed to be confused. I must admit to crying and looking for flights home when I went up.  I really don’t know how to manage this money thing. 

24th Mandaly Market - Photos

25th U-Bien Bridge - Mandalay Photos

Hi babe. You won't be up as its 2am. We on the other hand have been out on a shoot at U-Bien Bridge, had brekky and now out for a full day shooting. Last night was OK ish. Still fighting a cold. Knackered. But I doubt I will be back. I would like to tho. If you did fancy it I now have contacts for drivers and flights. Trust me, you would not want to drive on these roads.

We are out at 9am and back late I guess.

We drove to a temple where nuns and monks were getting sworn in. Nice architecture. On then to marble cutters, very dusty. I took a few pics but got back in the van. 

Then to a place where there was a teak monastery, nuns, monks some by the river. The river must be so toxic as the banks were made of plastic bottles and plastic rubbish.

We had lunch by the same river that the bridge is on.

It was a bit rustic, the food was ok though. I had red Thai curry which was like a soup. If I could have got a taxi back to the hotel I would. I kept falling asleep. Early morning and cold fighting is taking its toll. 

We went onto a temple but I guarded the bus. Then onto curved Buddhas, then onto this place. Another temple. I'm sat outside with a cold drink. Oh, there was another place too, up a load of steps. Nice view but not much else. 

While I was sat here writing a local lady wanted her photo taken with me, so a series of selfies later she took her scarf off and gave it to me. 

The others were ages. When they came back it turns out they were sat on a terrace outside the temple in the grounds.

So glad to get back to the hotel. Quick shower and dinner. Two gins one tonic. Chicken salad. With Stephen, Mara, Tom, Karin. Felt like shit. Went up and did most of my packing. Managed to get everything charging. The sockets here are rubbish. Slept OK but kept waking up. The nights seem very long here. 

Felt better today (Monday) head hurty, throat rough but better. 

Road Trip to Lake Inle - Photos

Road Trip to Lake Inle

We were away by 7.30am. Sitting by Vicky today, she's lovely.

We had a stop at a cattle market. We were quite a novelty. Vicky and I had coffee with an old  man in a shack. Wander around the market and chat to people. Super pics. 

A road trip like this is long but good for reflection. Mainly about me. I confuse myself.


After cattle market we stopped at a temple festival. Rural and awesome. The places that the people live in are so poor. Bamboo wattle walls with roofs very small too. The road is twisty turny, not wide. 


We had a lunch stop at a rural location. I had chicken and soy bean. It was ok.  That plus an Aloe Vera drink cost 5000. We had one other brief stop at a market town and hit Lake Inle at what ever time I contacted you. The rooms are awesome. Balcony, lounge, mosquito tent. Had a quick shower then we all had dinner together I had 3 or 4 gins. Not drunk. Cost was a bit pricy. According to my calculations about £20. I’m running short of Kyats though. So that means I have spent close to 200 dollars! Don’t know if that is good or bad. 

Tonight was nice. We all chilled out.  The only trouble is here that The tv is in the lounge! What to do when I wake in the night?

27th - Lake Inle, Fishermen, Sunset

Lake Inle

Can't remember where I was up to. The journey to Lake Inle I believe. It was a long trip but stopping for lunch and photos helped. We arrived about 5.30pm. Free g&t. Tidy. Amazing hotel, eco travel. All being done with conservation in mind. The room is huge. Has its own lounge area, balcony looking onto the lake. There is a spa here. Quick shower and we met for dinner at the hotel. Pricy for what it was. It came to more than I had too so I put it to my roombill.

Slept. There's a cool mozzie net around the bed. I'd like one out in Turkey. 

Breakfast was smoked salmon, scrambled eggs, yoghurt, fruit. Small portions but very nice. 

0830 and we were walking down town, very dusty.

We were left to wander then. I changed 100 dollars. Looked in the market and took some pics. Very tired so came back and worked on my project. I found it easier to view and select pictures by linking the camera to the iPad.


Inle 1st afternoon

We met at 3.30 pm to go out in the boat. 4 in one boat, 3 in the other. Didn’t like it at all, not one little bit. The boats are long, low, flat and flop from side to side. We did have a life jacket. Non negotiable apparently. Why would anyone not want one?

There is a long channel down to the lake, every time a boat passes there is the wake to contend with, yuk. My arse is not meant to be that close to the water. We got to the lake and started photographing. Got a shedload of images, some more posed than others. Poor Karin, she tapped me on the shoulder to pass on a message and I jumped and told her to fuck off. I did apologise later!

We stayed till sundown, I was glad to get back. 


So, it's 22.23 here. I'm in this huge comfy bed and I have the whole day for meeeeee tomorrow. Bliss. They are meeting at 6am. Out all day on THAT boat. Two of the stops you get out of the boat onto a bank. I may miss houses on stilts and a floating market and a load of steps to a temple. However the thought of being out on that boat all day, nah. I could force myself to do it sure but why?


We went to a local restaurant for dinner. Stephen said was I going tomorrow, I said probably not, that today had caused a nervous poo.

Back to the hotel and I did my 5 images. They loved my brain shot – not! I said that was how I felt about numbers and when the world hates me.

28th - Lake Inle, Market Photos

Inle 2nd Day

I got up late, brekky about 0845. Just as they were clearing up. Leisurely stroll down town, bought another longye and a bag 15000. Earrings 10000.  I think. Took pics. Came back to the hotel, chilled. Lunch around the corner. Finished my project. Set it to ‘fancy’ music.

We met at 1830 and did the project. It went well.  We had dinner in the same restaurant, avocado salad, chicken, mojito. 10000. 

One more drink at the hotel, settled my bill 55,000. That was meal, drinks, laundry. Mare bless her helped me with the money.

While I think about it, she said the other day that the first impression of me was me saying “I was a grumpy person” and her thinking it odd. I guess it is. Just a defence, protective thing I think.

Vicki said the first thing she noticed was that I was rubbing my tum! She thought that was odd, it’s because I am so conscious of it.

Funny what People notice. 

Back to Yangon - Final Evening Photos

Back to Yangon

Anyway, our final day and time to get up. I have been awake for hours, something about 4.30am made a noise like someone tapping on the window, made me jump, I couldn’t go back to sleep tidy then. Straightforward trip back to Yangon from Heyho Airport.


Once back in Yangon we were free for the afternoon, I decided to walk to a big market I had seen advertised somewhere, all the way there risked my neck crossing the road and the place was closed! Bugger. I walked down carpet street (it sold carpets) and back up spec street. Nothing to buy as such so I went back to the hotel, Stephen gave a talk on converting to B&W in lightroom then we met at 5.30pm to walk down to a roof bar.

Final evening - 8.15pm and we are all done and dusted. Steven bought us a cocktail each on the roof bar of this tall building. Had a nice chat to Tom. After the bar we had a meal. It was OK. Cost 7000. Walked back to the hotel where we all said goodbye, hugged etc.

The Flight Home - 4 Pics

Yangon - Home

So had a shitty night sleep again. Woke at about 3 am and couldn’t get back off. Was down stairs for breakfast by 6.15. Their bacon always seems dried out and tasteless. The eggs were ok but no taste. Yoghurt and nuts. Thank goodness for my mint tea. 

Checked out and left the hotel at 7.50 pm. Had butterflies as we approached Yangon Airport. Where to go, what to do. Coping with a knackered suitcase. Screening first, just me not the suitcase. Then find the baggage desk. That was ok. They talk in broken English which while it is better than my broken Burmese doesn’t help at all. She was asking if I wanted to change my seat to Bangkok for a window seat. Frankly I couldn’t care less. Then some worker my side is pointing to labels and saying some thing. He was loud and scary so I backed away. I am a wuss but it was the best way to avoid confrontation. He was probably saying in, to him, very clear English, that this is your boarding pass or something. Anyway, the girly saw how it was and said something to him. I was quite flustered. 

Went upstairs to immigration where they wanted my passport and departure card, then she said some thing else, I was clueless so I gave her the lot, turns out she wanted the boarding pass. 

Once through there were a few gift shops and I did look for something for Abi. They did the following thing like they do in Turkey though and I felt like a thief. There was nothing particular there and my heart wasn’t in it. I just want to be on the Bangkok Heathrow flight now. Preferably with a row to myself and lots of sleep. The M4 isn’t looking very good snow wise, hope Stevo doesn’t take any risks.

I came into the departure gate lounge as I thought it would be quiet. There’s a bunch of kids here, just as unruly as back home. Not quite so noisy though. Actually I wish I had got a bottle of water before I came through, my throat feels rough.

I think checking in at the airports on my own has been the worst bit, not knowing where to go or what to do. Okay in the Uk but even if I ask for help this end I can’t understand what they say properly. No ones fault. I love the way that no one in Myanmar loses their temper, much. Apparently it’s considered bad form. No road rage, busy roads but everyone is polite. Although there is a lot of poverty it seems pretty clean, they are obsessed with sweeping. Mind there are a lot of plastic bottles around. There was no point me bringing that water filter system, didn’t use it. Or the sunscreen. One bottle of deet would have done.

It’s been an epic trip, good bits, bad bits. Seems a long time I have been away.  I would consider doing another as it has been good for me, I’ve been scared but survived. I’ve grown in confidence in some parts. My photography has improved, I have a shitload of amazing shots. I still don’t understand me though. Oh a water machine, right here too! Laters.

Shit, time has done its moving thing again, I was thinking ‘oh we will be boarding soon, where is the plane?’ However, there has been a time slip and we have gone backwards, it’s only 0840hrs! How did that happen? Surely it must be more than that? Nope, big hand is on the 8, little hand is on the 9. Did I get through security that quick? Guess I will read my book then. I haven’t had time all holidays to do so.  Ha, typical – I have packed the book in the suitcase.

Uneventful flight back, the flight to Heathrow was on a different, smaller, plane to that on the way out. No real leg room and buggered if I could sleep. Took pics as we flew over Islamabad and The Caspian Sea. Watched about 5 movies. Stevo made it up through the snow – what a man. One slippery bit on the M4, worse in patches, the worst bit was parking outside our house. We got in about 1230am.

That is that. Would I do it again? In a heartbeat. I wouldn’t be such a wuss next time though!





(Lilygreen Photography) bagan burma inle yangon Wed, 14 Feb 2018 16:59:00 GMT
Today has been .... I had a sports massage this morning, years of falling off horses, wonky posture have caught up with me. I didn't realise just how squished and congested my muscles were/are.  Since my hip replacement and continuing to go to the gym I have realised just how important it is not only to do at least stretching and strengthening exercise but to do it properly. This is why I go to Keepers Fit Gym in Abergavenny twice a week, there I work with Charlie McCloy, he makes sure I do the exercises properly, it makes a huge amount of difference. More of that another time.

Anyway after the massage and a well earned coffee I went up to Park Dressage where Alison Payne and Amanda Leaker were running a dressage Clinic. It was lovely to see horses and their humans working. I practised taking photos on a few of them, you can see them here. You can share and download them as I was uninvited today, they do have my logo on them but it is unintrusive.  The pics are ready to upload now so here goes.  Click on the photo to see the gallery. 2017-09-19_0222017-09-19_022

(Lilygreen Photography) Tue, 19 Sep 2017 21:06:51 GMT
My New Hip

My New Hip Story

I had known I had arthritis starting in my hip some years ago 2002 to be exact. They did an x-ray on my back and noted it then. It got worse of course and I really noticed it the last time I rode which was in 2012. I had a lesson on a lusitano in Golega. The instructor asked why I was pulling faces when doing lateral movements – I couldn’t help it! It was hurting. The left one is the worst one but didn’t bother me too much until 19th October 2014 when it ‘went.’ We had travelled on the coach to London to see Michael Flatley and decided to walk through Hyde Park to the accommodation, I remember a sharp pain in my left groin and we had to keep stopping for me to sit down. The pain would recede and on we went.

The weekend passed and the pain got worse, going back to the coach station was awful. At this time I didn’t know it was my hip and thought it may have been sciatica as the pain went all the way down my leg.

When we got home I saw the Doctor, she seemed clueless and asked “Would you like to see a Consultant?” I replied “I am a photographer you are the Doctor, you tell me”

She did refer me and in the meantime I saw my Osteopath who mentioned that she could refer me for an MRI – I had researched it and it seemed the way forward. So I went privately it cost about £400. Once I had the result of the MRI I decided to see a back consultant privately – while there is a problem with my back he said that the hip was the big problem. So, I decided not to wait and saw the hip man privately too. He said I was bone on bone and put me down for a left total hip replacement. He also said that it was visible on the original x-ray that had been done for my local GP – how come they didn’t pick up on it or refer me sooner?

I changed GP surgery in January of 2015 and have been impressed by their care and efficiency. Once on the waiting list it has been relatively straightforward. I knew it would be about nine months so anticipated time was Xmas 2015. However in September the hospital rang to say that due to waiting times would I mind going to Bristol for my operation. I told them I would be ready within the hour if it helped.

Nothing happened until November when I went to a pre op interview. After being x-rayed again as they didn’t have me on their system it all went well until they did the heart check then they saw a blip they didn’t like. The anesthetist said he wasn’t happy to do it until I had been checked out by the cardiologist – bugger, I knew the waiting list would be long so more money to see him privately, he recommended an Echocardiogram and a stress test (try getting a new hip) again the waiting list. As the echocardiogram was instant and the more telling of the two I coughed up for that privately. He said that there was nothing apparent and that he was happy to OK me for anaesthetic.

Of course by this time – all be it only three days – I had been deleted from the list at the sub-contracted hospital and referred back to our local one. No one knew what was going on and letters were going all over the place including to my old Doctor. Anyway to cut a long story short I made a shedload of phone calls, delivered my own set of chronological notes to my new Doctor and got things back on track. No one’s fault just the way it is. I finally had my pre op interview finished and just had to wait on a date.

So for a first post I think this is enough to go on with.


‘The Phone Call’

I had the call at 11am today from Emersons Green Hospital. I am to be there at 10am Monday 25th January. No food after midnight Sunday, not drinks either although I can sip water, they emphasised sip, until I get there. I can have a snack before I go to bed but nothing on the day. No make up, nail polish, jewellery, sprays, perfumes, etc. No cuts or abrasions on my skin. Did I have a cold, chest infection, bladder infection.  Had I been to West Africa recently. Had I been in any other hospital recently?  Must remember my sample of urine. No ibuprofen for 24 hours before. I can take paracetamol though.

I have to take a bag with my washing stuff, two sets of slippers – not mule types. Two sets of PJ’s or nighty. Two sets of comfy loose clothing as I will be doing physio.

I have been in self imposed quarantine since Tuesday this week as I really, really don’t want to catch a bug, of any type.

Talk about clammy hands and feet, I am so scared. What of? I don’t know specifically. The needles going in? The noises? The pain after? The recovery time? Something going wrong?  I just wish I could fast forward a few months.

Don’t underestimate pre op stress either. I realised it yesterday when my husband pissed me off in some fine style. I did tell him but found myself more upset than I would be normally. Mood swings etc. Not sure how to combat this. Anyway I guess i should sort out music play lists, books, chargers, etc etc.

The Day Before :(

I am officially a bag of nerves. I don’t care if I will be fine. I know it will hurt after. I am as prepped as I can be. I know I am stressed to hell and back. I am jumpy, stomach in knots, restless, can’t concentrate. No words are going to help, just leave me be! What if they kill me or permanently main me??!!!  I keep saying to myself FFS get over yourself and get on with it!

I have a cotton kaftan ready; fluffy kaftan ready; two night shirts – I think if I sleep naked as I usually do I will scare the crap out of the staff! Loose joggers and top for physio after the operation. Two pairs of bedroom slippers. Washing stuff. They provide towels apparently – I may take my own anyway.

I went to bed but couldn’t sleep till about 0300hrs or later. My heart was pounding. I was thinking of all sorts. Did Steve know where the safe key is in case he needed the will? Was I going to forget anything vital like a phone charger.

Of course when I did go to sleep I almost slept late. Steve woke me at 0745hrs and we needed to go go at 0830hrs! Still this now encroaches on another day. X

Op day

Almost slept late! Steve called me at 0745 and we had decided that we were leaving at 0830hrs! Still I only had to dress and shower. Remembered slippers, cables, pee sample (just)

I was calmer than I thought I would be. We left on time had an uneventful journey over. Listened to John bon Jovi ‘this Romeo is bleeding ‘ and Bryan Adams ‘heaven’ hmm. Saw blues n twos and turned around in the gateway to a oap home when we went wrong!

Booking in was swift and efficient.  We sat around and cwtched.  I wasn’t far from scared tears but didn’t as that would set Steve off.

It was just a case of sit and wait then. And wait. And wait.  I was dry and starving

Eventually at 4.45hrs we left. I walked up to the theatre. Had to sit in the recovery area for ages too anyway we went in and I had the needle in my hand once they found  a vein. Then the gig one. Epidural.  Because  of my back problems something that doesn’t usually hurt, hurt like fuck. I was cussing like a good un. I must stress that it was down to me.

Before I lost all feeling I had to lie on my back then turn over onto my side. It was cold in there but this is so bugs can’t survive. They put a hot blanky on me and wheeled me in. The sedation kicked in and we were off. I wasn’t aware of much pulling or anything. I could hear banging, sawing, drilling. However it didn’t bother me. I was glad when they finished as the shoulder I was lying on was uncomfortable.  They rolled me onto my back and trollied me to recovery. I was dopey but soon came around and had water. Lots of it. They had put a cathetar in before so weeing was not a problem!

They wheeled me back to the ward and I was fine. Well I would be. Dead from the waist down! I had sarnies later. Phoned hubby. Started writing.  Took selfies.  Had a lush sarnie and a cuppa coffee. Had a shitload of tablets but what they are or did is immaterial.

Surprisingly I slept till gone 3am. !

Day after the op.

Woke early. Very early. Although tired I didn’t think I would sleep again so I messed around. Toe wiggling. Facebook chatting to my pal Ros who also couldn’t sleep.

I was given tablets at various intervals and did doze but every time I did someone came in. Nevermind.  Just before lunch the physio arrived and helped me to stand. Wow. Weird. Frame operated leg then good leg. I hobbled around the other side of the bed towards the chair. As I approached I felt sparkly and light headed.  It’s down to blood pressure apparently. Anyway some oxygen and a lie down sorted it and it hasn’t come back.

It was good to have a wash and put my own kaftan on then a bit of lippy and I was sorted.

I am sore on the side of my leg. Very stiff and sore but it hasn’t swollen up yet. They all seem pleased with my progress.

I get the catheter out tomorrow thank goodness it’s a pain in the bum now. I did try the loo for a poo but it was so uncomfortable.  Too high. My leg was pressing on the wrong place and I just wasn’t ready! Gave up and asked for stuff!

All in all a good day for a first day. Been doing my exercises and I hope they get easier!

Not a good end to the day. They hadn’t taught me how to get back into bed. The doctor supervised me walking there and then buggered off! I sat on the edge of the bed and tried to do a reverse manoeuvre of getting out but lif ting the bad leg up caused intense burning pain at operation site. Nurse helped but bloody he’ll it hurt. Had painkillers with the final drug run. Slept well till 3am x

Day two- Wednesday

Had a good night’s sleep.  Woke at 3am went back to sleep till about 6 or 7. Nurse helped me to the shower but I went sparkly again. Horrible feeling.  She fanned me with a towel and I had to take deep  breaths and hold my hands above my head. I sat in the chair for a bit and fell asleep.  Only waking for tea and physio. I told her about not being able to get into bed last night but it went totally over her head. We did new exercises.  Leg swings to side front and back. Knee bends to work the glutes. I went back to bed after and slept.  I didn’t feel ready to go  home and mentioned it to a nurse, after she finished banging on about how she  couldn’t do anything she must have mentioned it to someone as I am still here. I will see the physio sometime and it will be afternoon before I go. Fine by me.

Getting in and out of bed is the worst.  The wound burns. Still it’s bound to hurt. They almost gave me a double dose of codeine today luckily I noticed. I have been a grumpy draws today.

Oh forgot to add that the catheter came out. I had to pee 3 times in a container but I have done that now. My blood pressure is getting back to normal so all good

Thursday – Day 3

Another good night’s sleep.  Woke about 4.30am got up for a wee then slept again till 7ish when morning rounds began. More drugs, codeine amongst them. Trouble is it makes my nose itch and makes food go down in lumps.

Had a wash then brekky, prunes in the vain hope they will work. Plus scrambled eggs.

Pain controlled by the meds so thats OK. The physio came and wheeled me off to learn how to use crutches, go up and down stairs and we then walked back to the ward. I did my exercises then had lunch. I had the all clear later on so called Stevo and prepared for home. Oh deep joy – I managed a poo too!

I have a shedload of meds and instructions, do’s and don’ts, exercises, gadgets. Uneventful trip home, it was all a bit fraught when we got back with sorting dogs out, seats out, gadgets out but we are all settled now. Next hurdle is bedtime!

Friday – Day 4

Good nights sleep apart from waking up three times for a wee, getting in and out of bed is a potch but at least I managed to go back to sleep afterwards.

Steve made me breakfast – I am back on the Herbalife, trouble is he made it with water not soy milk! Dozed in bed then he helped me have a shower and wash my hair. I had to give very precise directions like open the doors outwards, put the chair in, “No I am not going to sit in there while it warms up” not because he’s daft but because I may have been a grumpy  draws and didn’t want to come over as such. Luckily we have a large quadrant shower so getting in was easy. I had a nice shower and washed my hair, he held the shower head when I needed both hands and he washed my legs. Much the same with drying actually. Getting the DVT socks on was a challenge! tugging and pulling – gently on the bad leg! I wore joggers and rugby top for ease. Bugger the underwear! No further challenges needed.

Came downstairs uneventfully and plonked myself into the settee. My pal Ros visited later and we had a nice hour nattering over real coffee. If ever you want a treat try PACT coffee, not cheap but oh so nice, they send a new one out every 6 weeks or so, two mugs of that and I was flying high, plus I was hoping for a beneficial side effect of a poo – not today though!

Now normally on a Friday I cook a curry but decided against it tonight and Stevo wasn’t up for cooking it so we cheated and bought one (of which I ate half) I had a chicken tikka balti but it lacked a bit of body and punch. I pepped it up with a fresh raw chilli but it’s been a long time since I had a really good curry.

Telly as always is boring. Been taking my meds regularly and doing my exercises. Codeine (1 x 3 per day) are excellent for the pain but make my nose itch and bung up my bum, I guess that’s the trade off.

Oh and I have had total bladder control! Someone suggested Tena Lady. One thing I am so glad I did though was get fit for the operation, both core and limb strength and cardio.


Saturday – Day 5

Restless in bed last night but I did notice that getting in was easier, I managed it with one swift bum swivel. Not comfy on my left leg, I feel like I want to bend the knee and stretch it. I put a pillow under my ankles but moved it up to my knee joints. The wedge was a disappointment, it needs to be shorter in length, thicker at the wedge end and not an equal triangle. If that were the case it would be more versatile. I can tell that I am going to get well cheesed off with the sleeping restrictions by week six! My leg is also  has swollen up, it’s not sore though.

Only up to go to the loo twice last night which was better, still no poo though! Mind it is difficult on those raised toilet seats, I can’t get comfy on the damn things. I have to sit and dangle my legs in the breeze and on the downstairs loo  I managed to water the floor yesterday, not because of lack of bladder control, no problem there! So it’s not wonder that with all the drugs that I can’t get comfy enough to ‘go’!

Steve helped me shower again, he is training up quite well as a nurse, assisting in the shower, drying, moisturising my legs before putting my DVT socks on and helping me dress etc. There is quite a lot for him to remember I guess, all the tablets at various times, drinks, meals. I know he worries when I go up and downstairs but I really am quite solid and confident. I hope I don’t get too cocky though, that is an accident waiting to happen!!

Today I find myself restless and wondering how long before I can get out and about. In the meantime I will have to get on with it. I was resigned to it before but now I am impatient to get fixed. I can’t settle down to read or anything either.

I didn’t do anything to remember really. Tidied up some photos on my laptop, Stevo cooked my Steak, egg and mushrooms  and asparagus for my tea.

Loo is still a problem so I used the ‘SheWee’ but while there was less of a sprinkle it didn’t cure it completely. I don’t get a problem upstairs, weird huh? I can only think that it is down to the positioning of the downstairs loo.

One handy gadget that has yet to be invented is a crutch holder, how useful would that be? The damn things slide in the loo, the bathroom, and as for by the side of the settee when not in use, well they have a mind of their own.

I must be healing because I can feel the operation site itching.

Notable things of interest or milestones? Nope!


Sunday – Day 6

Another tidy nights sleep. Up to the loo about twice. In and out of bed is definitely easier. I have noticed some bizarre dreams, night before last Steve had to rescue me from being raped, last night I was buying Xmas Decorations in Aldi with my Mum – who died in 1999 and one of the dogs ran off, I went to look for him but got distracted as I saw some nice light on a Dandelion and wanted to photograph it! I mean, really?

Leg swelling  This is the situation with my swelling at the moment. It isn’t very sore or anything.

My slave This is my sweetie pie having a well earned lie in!

I couldn’t be bothered to dress today. After my morning cuppa I promptly fell asleep again, a codeine induced stupor no doubt. I eventually came downstairs, did my exercises and dossed around.

Now the big news of the day so far, drum roll please,  I had a poop! Yay!! It took a while, a lot of sweating, cussing and abdominal exercises but I managed it. Thank goodness for the Dulcolax I took last night, fingers crossed that my success continues 

Didn’t feel much like dinner, I only had a small one but couldn’t do it justice. The wine was nice though!

My operated leg is swollen now. I am elevating, icing taking my meds, drinking, walking, exercising. It’s not comfy but not not painful either.

We lowered the toilet gadget in the downstairs loo and I thought it had cured the sprinkle problem – wrong. Felt cheesed off so went to bed about 10pm. I tried sleeping flat last night with the bed wedgie thing under my knees. Would have helped but I couldn’t sleep. The pup kept barking in her crate, I needed the loo, my right thigh had a muscular pain (back related) Grrrr. Been awake since 0500hrs, gave up about 0700hrs and came downstairs.


Monday – 1 week in.

Well I must be getting better as I am well grumpy. Mind I did have a shitty nights sleep last night. Between dog, leg, bladder. I was messaging my friend at 0500hrs trying to help her with her problems and I gave up at 0730hrs and got up. Managed to make a brew myself and took my meds. Sat on the recliner and crashed out (well almost apart from Jack Russells sat on me!) That will be the effect of The codeine then!

Feel OK but short tempered and I know that we are getting on each others nerves a bit.

Nothing sort of a day really. Did my exercises, dozed. Walked around the house. Tried to settle in and read a book but I can’t get into it.

Took two Dulcolax when I went to bed. That should sort my innards out!

Tuesday -Week 2

Slept well last night only waking for a pee. Dozed off again once I had a cuppa and a visit from my drug dealer. Also first thing I did when I got up was have a poo.  Oh deep joy!!!  Thanks Dulcolax!

Definite less pain and more mobility but looking in a mirror bloody hell the size on my arse – I hope that’s swelling not fat! I have never had hips wider than my shoulders! I looked like a queen bee.

My dressing is peeling off and the hospital yesterday said to either patch it up (not with Duct Tape though) or go to my local nurses and get them to change it although they do like to keep it covered as much as possible. I rang the surgery but they can’t fit me in till Friday, now I have the clips out on Monday so do I try and keep it going till then or insist on a change and then what do they do for a dressing on Monday after they take the clips out. I was only given one spare one.

Went for a walk today, not far admittedly but a walk nevertheless. Felt OK but didn’t want to go too far and overdo it so came back in. No pain, swelling appears OK.

It was a good day but after a codeine at 2 ish I fell asleep and had the most horrible dream. I dreamt I had a stroke. I could feel it. Steve was there but was ignoring me, I don’t know where ‘There’ was but it wasn’t here. I went from outside to inside on my mobility scooter and he was fiddling with a clock I couldn’t hear anything and he was still ignoring me, then he fainted! I was so annoyed and was wondering who I could ring for help, then he came to and I bit him! Hard – it was at this stage I knew it was a dream as no one would ignore a bite off me! Phew, luckily I woke up after but shit it was a scary dream!!

Haven’t done much of interest.

Wednesday 3rd Feb :(

Slept OK but that was the best bit about today.

My drug supplier was late – should have gone down and got them myself I know.

Felt really, really down, teary and emotional. I have no idea why but it has been unshakable. I didn’t shower because of the dressing peeling, while we have stuck it down I doubt it is waterproof so I  had a strip wash. Steve had gone out so I couldn’t do my socks. Being late with the meds didn’t help as it started to hurt more.

I can’t concentrate on reading a book, didn’t know what to do with myself. Tried retail therapy but there is too  much choice and I don’t know what I want anyway. Well maybe a really loud colourful pair of loafer type shoes?

Dinner was nice, lamb. Only a small dinner but I ate most of it. Insisted on wine even if it is only Wednesday. Oh made an appointment for my clips to be taken out next Monday.

Thursday – 4/2/16

Funny nights sleep. Went out like a light, no doubt assisted by the two glasses of wine. Woke about 3am for a pee break. My leg despite being elevated was swollen above the knee and it hurt. Plus there were intermittent pains going from my hip down my leg not excruciating but quite uncomfy. Changed pillow set up, elevation and managed to doze off again eventually. Mind I was glad to take my drugs at 0800hrs. I had put them ready last night which was just as well as the butler failed to bring me tea, water or bugger all else.

Got up and had a strip wash about 10am, I’m scared to shower as the patches we have on my dressing are not waterproof, my butler had gone to the dentist and I was gagging for a cupper so it was sort myself out. Kettle – empty, so I had to put water in a jug and one crutch it to the kettle. Of course the other crutch falls on the floor – bloody things. Anyway made it safely to my seat with cuppa in hand.

I wasn’t looking forward to anything today but then my wonderful, thoughtful friend Ros messaged me to say did I fancy a coffee if she collected me. I replied YES!!

We didn’t go far, there was no need, we have a lovely Garden Centre near here, The Secret Garden, loads of cheerful flowers in pots on the way in and a gorgeous array of home made cakes and scones. I went for a humongous fresh cream scone and it was lush -I should have taken a photo for you. It was nice to sit and talk. I don’t get these mood fluctuations though and would like to know the science behind them. I get the idea – roll with the punches etc but why am I feeling like this? Yes I know it’s major surgery but why? One minute I feel normal, the next really irritable, the next teary – at anything, even admitting it!! Silly cow! The biggest problem was getting in and out of Ros’s car. I have long legs so despite sitting as instructed there was no way I could swivel and lift both legs in together so I had to do them one at a time. Probably broke all the rules but it didn’t hurt so I guess I got away with it.

I had worn stretchy jeggings and it was good to take them off! Leggings next time maybe! Shoes wise I found slip on ankle boots the easiest. Top wise something loose to cover my bee shaped bum and expanded belly!

Just went to the loo, forgot I had a thong on and also forgot to take it down! Ooops!!! I have been commando since I came home but put knickers on today as I was going out. Wasn’t sure what to do so I cut them off and binned them!

Friday 5th. – Busy

Restless night last night, kept waking up after 3am. Wanted to stretch, bend, stretch. Bit of an ache, can’t say what it was that kept me awake. Dozed off eventually till Stevo’s alarm went off! Grrrrrr.  Took my 0800 hrs tablets then fell asleep again.  Up at 0930hrs or thereabouts as I was determined to go out.

I managed to get both DVT socks off myself for the first time. Washed my hair by  bending into the shower cubicle and using the shower head. Couldn’t have a full shower because of the dodgy dressing, so had to wash the rest of me at the sink.

It was so nice to go out. Leggings more comfy than jeggings but it is all becoming less sore and stiff anyway. I notice that I can bend and flex my knee in bed easily.

We had a cuppa in the local coffee house in Abergavenny with my two studio partners and I caught up on the news. It’s just nice to be out and about, dressed and in touch.

Home briefly had a cuppa then back out to the Doctors in Usk. The nurse changed my dressing. Bloody hell, the bit that wasn’t wrinkled up must have welded itself to my backside, she was talking to me but my answers went up an octave each time so I doubt she understood much. How I refrained from swearing I don’t know. The wound was slightly ‘wet’ in the centre (yeuch) she sprayed some iodine on it then slapped the new dressing on. Not such a neat job as they did in the hospital. I’m due to have the clips out on Monday, oh deep joy. She may not take all of the clip out. I asked if it would hurt as much. “It may pull slightly” hmmmm, interpret that as, yes it’s going to hurt – a lot.

I figured I’d earned a wine then so we called in to see a friend of ours Rocco who is into his homemade wine, had a very pleasant hour there then pottered home. Time to cook a curry now but I don’t feel very hungry I must admit.

Had a late bit of food and it was OK – better than I thought it would be anyway. Late bed.

Saturday 6th

Well what a lazy mare I am, I woke up at 0800hrs, took my tablets then crashed back out till 11am!

Haven’t done much all day. These blocks of wood under the settee have to go, the make the settee wobble too much every time anything moves on here and it is irritating.

There was an interesting post on one of the hip blogs today whereby a chap from Australia asked if we had noticed a change in our head, how we felt. Well it was 9am I was still sleepy and only had the mobile so decided to answer later, can’t find the post now though. Still, to answer his question, yes I have noticed a difference. A big one that can’t all be attributable to three codeine a day. I hope not anyway. Before the op and for for some years before I felt as though I had lost my smile. Some of it attributable to retiring from work with depression (CBT sorted that though) maybe too a lack of direction in  deciding what to do with a photography career. I stress really easily I have found. I miss having an adrenaline buzz that I used to get in my old job, also the camaraderie. Certainly the UK winters which I hate with a passion. Oh to say nothing of the menopause and a libido that has gone walkabout! So all in all I have turned into what I consider a grumpy old lady! However – since the op a chunk of this black cloud has lifted. I will be able to go walkies again, out on the pushbike, next winter we are renting a place in Spain to escape winter and xmas! I am definitely more cheerful and while I do get my irritable moments they really aren’t that bad. Still there is more to  look forward to this year and a lot less discomfort to put up with!

Hugs x

Sunday 7th

Woke about 4am after a bad dream, our dog had got lost while in the care of someone else. Too close to home this one as last year we lost our little Jack Russell. She had a panic attack, ran off and we were unable to find her. I facebooked it for a while then went back to sleep.

Had a nice shower, totally independently of Steve. Feels good each little progression. I still need him to put cream on my leg and put the DVT sock on but that was all.

Did a bit of tidying up – Where do all these litters come from?! It could have done with dusting too but never mind. Oh we took the blocks of wood from under the settee too, much better.

My sister in law and her hubby called in to visit and brought me a huge bunch of flowers. It was lovely to see them. Fair play my friends and family have been great.

Uses for crutches.

  • Drawing the curtains.
  • Poking husband when he annoys me.
  • Herding the dogs out of the way.
  • Reaching behind the settee when my throw falls on the floor.
  • Doing an angry old lady act and waving it at someone – because I can!
  • Stopped my one dog pestering the puppy who is just coming into season when it fell on them!

Roast pork for dinner, lush.


Monday – 8th

Well what a nice day it’s been. A good nights sleep, nice shower, then out for coffee with friends in Abergavenny for an hour or so. Just to be out and about is good. We were going to go to the butchers but it was peeing down with rain so a quick stop in Waitrose sufficed.

Coffee cups

NOTE – wet crutches slip on supermarket floors! It was only one and only a bit but it could have been more.

I had my staples out today, not something I was looking forward to from a pain point of view! It all went very smoothly though and didn’t really hurt at all, just a slight stinging sensation. Even the plaster didn’t hurt coming off.The nurse was really  pleased with the way I am healing and so am I. She squirted some iodine on it and put another plaster on. This stays on for 2/3 days then can come off. Once the scabs (I hate that word) come off I can put bio oil on it.

Hip Scar 2 This doesn’t show all of the scar. The nurse took it for me.

We had a stew for tea. Tasty but I didn’t eat much. Oh I weighed today, wasn’t sure what to expect but I am the same as pre op. I did think I may have lost a bit due to not eating that much but can’t say I am surprised as there must be fluid retention. I have been drinking more water but getting up and down for a pee all the time is annoying. I’m sure those codeine tablets restrict urine flow as well as causing constipation.

I see on some of the hip replacement groups that some folk have given their hips names, not sure why but if I were to call mine anything it would be ‘Spliff’ as it’s a new joint!

Tuesday – 9th Feb

Woke up early, too early as I have suffered for it all day, really tired and tonight I feel like that bus has caught up. Plus that bloody constipation …. one Dulcolax last night not quite enough, two is overkill. Ate some pitted prunes this afternoon. Those over the toilet potty seats are uncomfy too, it removed mine tonight, better but it is impossible for me to sit comfortably on the loo.

I wanted to doze this afternoon but one dog in season and another lusting after her made it a no no. They are taking it in turns to be crated with the odd spell of flirting. Morse goes away for the duration tomorrow – he is staying with a friend of mine in Bristol.

Reading through posts on hip blogs there doesn’t seem to be any ‘norm’ as far as exercise, length of time before you can do anything, advice, do’s and dont’s from physio and doctors. It’s all very confusing. Some exercising sooner than others, some still on the zimmer frame a few weeks out (op 2 weeks ago and I am down to one crutch)

Wednesday -10th

We took Morse over to my friends in Bristol today, the journey over was fine, no pain. Using her loo was harder as it was very low and I didn’t have my Shewee! Her chair was pretty low too but didn’t cause a problem. I was very tired on the way home, I don’t know why, I slept OK last night. I guess it’s just all part of the healing. I did doze pretty much from the 7 Bridge back home.

We went up the local pub for dinner, they have a Pie and Pint night on a Wednesday. I couldn’t eat all of it but it was tasty.

I was freezing when I got in, I couldn’t get warm. Slept all night in my fluffy jim jams.



Nothing new to report. Easier each day though sometimes I feel like I’m sitting on something hard! Lots of sleeping. I got up on Friday and we had decided to go into Abergavenny for a coffee but I fell asleep in the morning! We did go for a coffee later, well a hot chocolate actually as I needed a sugar rush.

I do find I’m still not enjoying my food much though. Not a bad thing I guess but I just find it a bit bland. Nothing to do with the food or the cooking. I have cut down to one codeine tablet at night and the Ibuprofen/Paracetamol as normal in the day.

Where my scar is I now have a dimple in my thigh at the bottom of the scar. I wonder will it fill out in time?

I’m still getting mood swings, not because I’m in any particular pain. I JUST AM, RIGHT?!!! Watching Doc Martin and I wanted to cry, hubby asks an innocuous question and I want to rip his throat out! Guess it will go, I sure hope so!

Had fish and chips from the local chippy, naughty and tasty!


Valentines Day

We had a bottle of prosecco last night. What more do we need? Sure don’t need to line the pockets of the card manufacturers and sweetie merchants!

We took the dogs around the block, I had Watson the old dog and one crutch, Steve had the pupsky. I was fine, chilly wind but it was the longest I have walked and I felt really pleased with myself. Came home and fell asleep!

I am still easily emotional. Growled at hubby, cried at ‘Call the Midwife!!’


Monday 15th Feb

Went into Abergavenny for coffee. One crutch. Walked around – no sweat! Bought a skirt (a nice pinkish silk, reversible, Indian jobby), gave the crutch to hubby to hold while I browsed. Up to the butchers then, still no problem. Almost tripped in the butchers when the crutch caught on their non slip mat. Luckily I was being careful but it just goes to show how easy things can go wrong.

Read a book all afternoon – bliss.

Oh I was naughty today – left the sexy DVT socks off. I’m sleeping flat in bed and I turned on my side too – so there!


Tuesday 16th

Went back over to Bristol to pick our dog up. He was pining – whether it was for us or Crumble we will never know. So for the next three weeks segregation is in force! Morse is being very good actually and not whining too much – yet! We have squirted smelly stuff on her and she didn’t like that! Tweaked a muscle somewhere on the operated side, not a problem, I can just feel it now and again. I must not get too cocky about this recovery!!!

Still on one crutch. I have ditched the shower seat and the seat on the bog upstairs. They have served their purpose and need to go.

One thing about leaving my DVT socks off last night in bed – my feet were bloody freezing! I have been finding the cold more anyway – must be the blood thinning tablets. I’m also down to one codeine a day – in the night – just in case. One Dulcolax to counteract the effects of that – well plus a few prunes – and everything is hunky dory.

I did crash out this afternoon for an hour. I had finished the one book – The Scribe book one in the Irin Chronicles. Pure fantasy.



Nothing interesting about the morning. It is nice to shower without the seat in there though!

Went to the local hospital physiotherapy unit – no for the hip but for my right elbow which also has arthritis in it, along with the scaphoid bone in the thumb. Lots of questions and testing. I pointed out that at the moment the main pain is in the scaphoid (I think) using the crutch, most movements cause a searing pain  in the wrist towards the elbow, that got ignored though! I go back in a fortnight.


Wed 18th

Worst nights sleep for a long time. Everything except the hip hurt. My wrist kept shooting searing pains up my arm, my back was aching, I wanted to stretch my legs, bend my legs, lie on the hip side, lie on the other side, two pillows, one pillow. I had dozed off ok initially but when Steve came to bed our lovelorn dog started barking at the crate the in season puppy is in. He is normally quiet if he can see her – not so this time. He did settle after being told off by his Dad. The damage was done then though and I couldn’t sleep. I dozed off eventually but then puppy wanted a pee  and the noise started again, eventually Steve went downstairs to control things – I did volunteer!

Steve is out all day today so I am just pottering about. Oh I have lost some weight! 11st 8.75 lbs. Another half a stone and I will be happy (I am 5’9″) I’m not using the crutch today to try and give the wrist a rest and I notice that it is easier and that I am not doing a drunken sailor wobble so much.

It is nice and peaceful here today, apart from pining dog! I have been doing admin work, changing gas/electric suppliers and saving £700 pa in the process. Insuring the puppy. Checking out new dental insurance. Boring and time consuming but necessary!

Think a bit more retail therapy and escape from house arrest may be in order tomorrow!


Thur / Fri

Stevo was out most of the day so it was an admin day. Swapped gas/electric and saved almost £700 per year. Insured the dog. Sorted meds at the Doctors. Sorted Dental Insurance. Put a casserole in the oven for tea.

Not a lot else happened. Slept fine till 03.30 hrs.

Friday – 19th Feb.

While I was awake for a good few hours in the night for no good reason. Anyway, we went to our local town, Cwmbran. Did about 1700 steps or 0.80 of a mile according to fitbit. No probs. Be glad to get rid of the crutch though – they are uncomfy on the arm/hand though handy for poking young children who fail to look where they are going  I intended to buy deck shoes from M&S but while 5.50 was fine on the left foot it was too tight on the right. I was walking out of a six. I guess the design is just not suited to my feet! I did buy a nice bag in House of Fraser but failed to get the leggings I wanted in Primark though – should have bought two pairs the last time. They are just nice and thick and feel nice. Morrisons after for wine and a few bits and pieces. I did have a small moment in the one aisle, it was empty apart from me and I had, er, wind. I didn’t hold it and walked on, then a lady appeared – oooops. I beat a hasty retreat 

Not sorry to get home, one crutch is better than two but my back aches after a while and my right wrist was cramping.

Cooked a lush curry tonight, I think the difference was using passata and some lemon juice with the chicken.

No aches, pains or anything right now. Whatever is going on in my wrist is painful if I turn my wrist various ways – Carpal tunnel? Plus still get shooting pains and numbness in my lateral thigh on the non operated side. What’s that all about? Left over nerve damage from the spinal? Meralgia paresthetica? I will have an awful lot of questions the next time I see the surgeon!


Tuesday 23rd Feb.

Well I haven’t blogged for a few days, primarily because there has been nothing to blog about.

We went to Cwmbran last Friday and had a good old wander around, my hip was fine. I used one crutch, stiff in the thumb of my non operated side after though along with that searing pain of the radial nerve. Bloody ouch.

We have removed the old lady toilet seats from the loos and the shower. Yeah, brilliant. I am walking in the house without a crutch and trying not to wobble, heel, toe, invisible book on my head!

Sleep had been disturbed though, not because of my hip but because the puppy has her first season and our other dog is love lorn. They take it in turns in the crate and Stevo has been sleeping downstairs to prevent undue barkage and howling!

I did ring the physiotherapy department about this radial nerve business but over the phone she wasn’t able to help much. She suggested visiting my doctor in case they can prescribe more neuro type painkillers (not something I am keen to do). She agreed that going back to two crutches may help and that rest would help too.

It was easier on two crutches though my hip could have done more walking than my wrist!

I don’t know about anyone else but I regularly find myself breaking the rules. Over bending, twisting etc. It doesn’t hurt though so I guess I have got away with it!


Friday4th March

Well since my last post there have been good bits and not so good bits. The hip goes from strength to strength. I have ditched the crutch and take the stick out with me only ‘just in case’. I lie on both sides in the night, more comfortably on my non operated side and I use a pillow – till it falls out. I don’t limp or waddle but the farthest I have walked is about a mile. that is due to weather and the face that because of the crutch I now have a problem with the radial nerve in my right hand (non operated side)

I first noticed it after our trip to Cwmbran, I felt like cramp in my right thumb then later a searing electric pain well over the 1 – 10 threshold in my right forearm, somewhere about 11. I have ditched the crutches and the stick. The less I use my right hand/arm the better. Every time I stretch my arm down it hurts like hell. Putting on or taking off a coat etc. There is no respite from the initial pain and no way of getting comfortable.

I saw the doctor who put me on Gabapentin (an epileptic drug) dirty old drug with lots of side effects but if it takes the pain away I don’t care.

When I saw the physio again it was supposed to be for the arthritis in my elbow but as that isn’t hurting I persuaded her to deal with the radial nerve instead, apparently it should have been referred again (bureaucracy) she gave me two exercises to do and a splint thing to wear. No relief as yet but I live in hope.

So it’s a lot forward but a new and unexpected pain to put up with. I am sleeping well, trying to walk more when weather allows. The big black cloud still seems to have lifted from me and I am defo more cheerful – I even thought about sex the other day!!

Anyway that’s all for now, if you have any questions get in touch- assuming anyone reads it of course!!


April 2017

Well long time no update. Primarily because there was not a lot to say and still isn’t really.

I had my 7 week check up and he said 90 degree prohibition for 6 months. No gym or cycling till after 12 weeks.

No stick or anything as using that caused damage to the radial nerve in my right hand and I had to have physio and Gabapentin neuro painkillers. Also nerve damage from the injection in my back. Nerve pain is horrible, like a mega electric shock and burning, really made me squeal on a number of times. It seems to be easing off now though.

We are just back from holidays where walking was no problem, I am still so appreciating being pain free. I intend to start back at the gym and get out on the bike now. I don’t think that breaks the 90 degree rule.

Medication wise I take Ibuprofen and Paracetamol for the arthritis else where but not for the hip. Oh we didn’t set the alarm off at the airport either.

I don’t foresee many more updates to the blog as it will be more like a diary then. If you have any questions feel free to get in touch and ask.

Hugs, Wendy x


21st September 2017

This video is for my pal Lizzie. 

Learning to squat 01 This is a good way to get up all the time too.

Learning to Squat Properly














(Lilygreen Photography) Thu, 14 Sep 2017 17:27:09 GMT
My Friend Arty Copyright Stables PhotographyMy boy Arty This blog is sort of in two parts. The first part was written way back in 2014, the second part is an up to date conclusion.

My friend Arty

I've had my horse Arty since he was 4 years old, which was way back in 1991, I had been diagnosed with epilepsy and had to sell the car.

In an effort to hit back at the world and anyone who said ''don't be silly'' I decided I would buy another horse. I happened to meet an old friend of mine Glyn Holland and he said ''I have just the horse for you!'' How right he was. I tried out this gangly 4yr old and while cantering along Glynn says, don't worry there is a Jack Russell hanging onto his tail!  Back in the stable Arty then went on to grab my gold earring, chew it and spit it out! I was hooked.  When he first came home I still couldn't drive so to see to him or go riding I cycled to the field with his saddle strapped to my back like some sort of odd Turtle. 

Eventually I was back on the road and decided that the way forward was with a trailer, I bought a twin axle rear load one. Our first outing was to act as a mounted runner at a Vale of Usk Riding club event at Dingestow. It was foul weather, wet and windy.  He was a lunatic, or rather I was for taking a green 4 year old there in the first place! When it came to hometime he would not load, no way no how. I ended up hacking him home. Deep joy.

We have been through a lot together, a trailer accident from which he walked away unscathed, hunting and him having brake failure on top of the mountain, scaring me witless over X/C, struggling to remember dressage tests, him walking in front of me and stopping me leaving the field when I was really sad and bawling my eyes out, him trying to climb over a wall via the muck heap and Janet and I spending ages digging the silly devil out, him dumping me out through the side door when he didn't like any jump (my weak riding really!) many good and some not so good times. 

I haven’t ridden him since 2006 – busy lanes, no one to ride with, busy in work – then he developed arthritis in his knee and was retired. This last winter (2012/13 has been particularly hard – for everyone.

A week ago we went up to the field to put the boys away for the night and saw Arty lying down in the field, obviously unable to get up. It’s that horrible gut wrenching, stomach churning feeling, “Is this it?” His arthritic near fore was underneath him and he couldn’t get enough purchase on the ground to get up. Luckily there were 3 of us and we managed to push him up enough that he could. Once up he was fine except for one stiff leg and his poorly knee which was hot and swollen. Four days later he did it again and I really began to think that ‘I would have to do the right thing.’ 

It made me realise that I have NEVER done a proper portrait shoot of him. NEVER had any nice pics of me and him together. How sad would that be to lose him with only mobile phone pics as a memory?

So, Zoe came up in March 2014 and did a brilliant shoot for me. Me and my pal Arty. I had a lovely album done and love looking at it. 

Arty Part two

Winter 2014/15 was hard for Arty, despite all the food I could shovel into him, his metabolism had changed and he went to look very poor indeed. Spring finally arrived and he gradually improved and had more meat on him  and a lovely gloss to his coat. However his arthritis didn't improve, moving became more difficult for him and my wonderful farrier Steve had to support Arty to do his feet. He was always bright in his self, vocal when we appeared and always finished his food with relish. I washed him in June and he was so bright, trying to trot around the field. However he got more stiff and sore, I would video him and watch each time that he was finding it harder to move.  Each time we (Steve & I) went to feed him we would hope for some sort of miracle recovery - it never happened. No supplements helped.

Then I saw on Facebook that a friend of mine had a stallion who was ill and that an animal communicator had been in touch. It gave me the idea to try the same, I have several friends with different abilities and whether you think it hocus pocus (as hubby does) or not I am open minded. One said that she felt the horse was confused as to why he couldn't do what he used to. Another felt pain in his knee, hip and head. Another said that he knew I was sad and worried and that he wanted to go. I found the knowledge comforting and although it didn't help me with any decision it made me think further and deeper. Why was I keeping him going on when he was clearly in pain?  What happens with winter fast approaching?  He was still enjoying his food, still greeting me with a whicker and a bright eye. But - he would be in his field shelter and it was obvious that he didn't know which foot to put down first to turn around. Then when I compared videos from the first to the last I knew it had to be now. while he was still enjoying his food, while he was still happy.

I asked for Gareth Poulton who I work with at to come out and do a farewell photoshoot of us. So on Tuesday 18th August the boys and my  friend Ros came out to Arty's field. It was nice light which wrapped around well and armed with carrots and apples I led Arty step by very painful step to a favourite spot. I fully expected to be crying the whole time but it was really lovely, Arty enjoyed it and so did I. Fairplay to Gareth he did a brilliant job. When we were done Ros produced a bottle of Champagne and some strawberries, we toasted Arty.

I had arranged for the vet - Rod Fisher - to come at 11am on Wednesday 19th. The weather was wet. Arty came down for breakfast which was demolished at speed, then he had seconds. What was odd was that he was walking so much better than last night, still limping, still painful but definitely easier. I videoed it. We talked over with Rod what had led to the decision then I caught Arty and led him to a corner of the field, I'm damned if he didn't walk ahead of me, like he wanted to. 

Rod explained kindly what would happen and inserted the needle in my baby's neck, he was eating apples at the time. 15 seconds later he sat down bum first, then lay down and went to sleep. His eyes changed. His muzzle still warm I stroked it and couldn't believe that a 24 year partnership was over. He had helped me through depression, helped me through bad times and now it was my turn. It may have been the right thing for him but I felt like a murderer. 

Anyway, it's done. I am now looking forward to seeing all the photos taken and then getting an album and lots of new pictures for my walls of a special character with a great sense of humour.

Love n slush

Wendy x


(Lilygreen Photography) Thu, 20 Aug 2015 17:51:55 GMT
True Grit We went up to the local Goytre Arms on Friday and sat by some friends of ours Julia Horton and Dean Goddard. I was aware that Jules was representing Great Britain at Dressage in August and that she was doing Dressage to Music as part of it. To do this is not easy as there are set movements that have to be carried out at specified times and set to music that matches the steps of the horse. No mean feat by any stretch of the imagination. Once you have your music - which you have to get licensed, you have to cut and paste it and put it all in one stream in specialised software which you buy out of your own pocket, learn how to use and then spend hour upon hour getting it all together. So as you can imagine Jules was pretty stressed. We volunteered to help with the music and helped her finish it all off today. We didn't do much, she had struggled through and done  most of it on her own. We weren't able to play the video at the same time as the music but there is time to play with that again.

What did strike me was watching her dedication as she rode the test, several times, in the pouring rain while Dean filmed it. Day in day out she struggles to keep three horses going and herself going. Read more of Jules background on here Stockpin Chic who sponsor her. What I haven't mentioned is that Jules is a Para Rider, before you continue read about her on the Stockpin Chic page.

When Jules goes away next to Bishop Burton, Yorkshire it will be just her and 'Joycie' her horse. For a week. Representing her country. Great Britain. She does not have any funding. She pays for fuel, stabling, entry fees, GB flags for the saddle pad, horse feed, her feed (hopefully.)

Notice that there is no mention of her accommodation - she is sleeping rough in the horse trailer. If you have read her background you know how hard this will be.

I want to help a little bit more so thought I would put this out there to you guys. How can we help this lady and her horse represent our country in a little more comfort?

Stables Photography sponsors Jules and will help in any way possible. PortfolioPortfolioThis is Jules and Harry.


(Lilygreen Photography) Sun, 26 Jul 2015 12:40:54 GMT